Published: 25/05/2011 05:00



300, 000 Vietnamese
kids’ passive smokers

According to a recent survey conducted by the Public University,
about 150,000 to 300,000 Vietnamese children under 18 months of age suffer from
lung infections such as pneumonia and bronchitis by inhaling cigarette smoke.

Seventy percent of young children in the country under the
age of five are passive smokers.

Passive smoking is a serious health hazard. Each year many
passive smokers suffer from breathing problems, cough mucus, chest discomfort,
ear infections and pregnant miscarriages. It also increases the risk of
tuberculosis. Both chronic smokers and passive smokers inhale enough chemical
substances to cause breast cancer in some women.

Moreover, young kids living in smoke polluted environments
have a poorer academic record than those who do not.

Development of
internet, social networks challenges broadcasters

Digital technology in the form of emails, blogs and social
network sites such as Facebook and Twitter means traditional broadcasters in Asia are facing new challenges, a conference in Ha Noi
heard yesterday.

Broadcasters attending the two-day 8th Asia Media Summit,
themed “Digital media everywhere: repositioning broadcasting”,
discussed hot issues facing the broadcasting sector such as technological
innovation, television scheduling strategies and new media content.

“The digital world is upon us, igniting a revolution in
the laws of attraction that govern the media industry,” said Thoyyib
Mohamed Waheed, president of the Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development.

“Traditionally, broadcasting – radio and television –
has served to be the centre of family attention and interaction, be it in the
living room or dining room.

Its pervasiveness and impact are no doubt an issue. But with
the advent of laptops, cellphones and iPads, this powerful magnet of attention
has begun to share its influence and change the idea of the family
cornerstone,” he said.

“Audiences are fragmenting, becoming more
discriminating in programme choice, demanding a medium that is available
anywhere and anytime, one that can justify their investments in time and

With “digital everywhere”, the battle for
attention was more intense than ever, he said. Radio and television could no
longer be just a “box” in the living or dining room. It had to be a
dynamic platform that incorporated new digital technology, that accommodated
changing consumer experiences and that allowed for creative strategies.

“Equally critical for all of us present here is how we
reposition broadcasting and tap digital media so that we earn the relevance in
each medium in order to attract and retain audiences,” he added.

At the opening ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien
Nhan said the Vietnamese Government attached great importance to the development
of the media industry.

There are 67 radio and TV stations across the country with
about 200 channels.

The paid-for TV network has expanded significantly in recent
years, and has 50 domestic and 75 foreign channels.

Since 2008, following the launch of the Vinasat-1
telecommunications satellite, TV and radio broadcasts reach virtually the whole
of the country, while broadband internet services are now available in 87 per
cent of communes, wards and townships and has about 20 million regular users.

All schools in Viet Nam, from primary to high
schools, have had free internet access since 2010.

Meanwhile, 3G telecom services have been available since
2009, and 4G services now provided on a trial basis, enabling people to access
radio and TV, the internet and other services from their mobile phones.

“The fast-growing broadcasting industry in Viet Nam is
moving forward, updating technologies, professionalising programmes and
diversifying content in order to meet the increasing demand of domestic and
foreign audiences,” Nhan said.

“The powerful development of science and technology has
posed both challenges and opportunities for the broadcasting industry. Thus the
Government has defined specific orientations and steps to be taken as well as
closely directed application of advanced technologies in broadcasting
services,” he said.

In 2005, the Government decided to introduce digital
terrestrial television services throughout the country, making Viet Nam among
the first in the region to digitise broadcasting transmissions.

In a video message sent to the summit, United Nations
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Asia was at
the forefront of digital technology and new media.

“Of course, challenges remain. Let us work together to
bridge the digital divide so that all people can benefit. Let us promote
multiple languages in new media and let us ensure free access to the internet
and social media tools everywhere,” he added.

The annual summit, hosted for the first time in Viet Nam by
Radio Voice of Viet Nam and the Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting
Development, attracted about 600 local and international delegates from more
than 50 countries and territories.

Education attracts
investment again

Education has returned to the top place in the list of most
positive sectors for investment in the last survey on private equity investors
conducted by auditing and consulting firm Grant Thornton Vietnam.

The bi-annual “Private Equity in Vietnam – Investment Sentiment and
Outlook” survey during the second quarter of this year also showed the
improvement in the attitude towards oil and gas, natural resources and
agriculture while retail trade lost its top place.

Although optimism for the next twelve months is lower than
the last quarter of last year, the outlook sentiment is generally positive with
53 percent of all respondents holding a positive view.

In addition, 54 percent of respondents believe that Vietnam remains an attractive destination for
investment and 53 percent of respondents plan to increase their investments in Vietnam
in the next 12 months.

Tours suspended in Din Ky
Tourist Area

All tour operations in Dinky Tourist Area was suspended
until it ascertains the individuals and agencies responsible for the Saigon
River boat tragedy of May 20, announced the People’s Committee of Binh Duong
Province on May 23.

According to Dam Trong Cuong, deputy director of the Binh
Duong Department of Transport, Din Ky Tourist Area’s wharf did not have a
business license but was still plying tourist boats. Police had earlier asked
the tourist company to stop operations in the harbour, but its owner did not

Ho Chi Minh City Maritime Port Authority has coordinated
with relevant agencies to check the registration licenses, safety equipment and
driver’s license of eight ships operating in the tourist sector.

Most ships had complied with regulations but some ships did
not have adequate safety equipment such as lifebuoys, fire prevention and fire
fighting systems.

According to Vietnam Inland Waterway Administration, tourist
agency and transport agency must be responsible for the boat tragedy because
they manage tourist ships.

Price structure rise
in medical services

The Ministry of Health will release new official price
structures for hundreds of medical services including some that will increase

The ministry said it has submitted a proposal to the
government on new rates for 350 medical services that have remained unchanged
since 1995. Among the 350 services, 220 have risen less than 2.5 times while 70
hiked from seven-10 times.

The ministry explained that prices of materials, chemicals
and equipment had risen many times compared to that in 1995. For instance, a
pair of gloves cost VND300 in 1995 but now it is VND3,000 (tenfold) or threads used in surgery have gone up by
VND2,000 and now sell at VND50,000 (25 times)

According to the regulations in 1995, the first-class
hospitals charged VND4, 000 to VND18, 000 for a bed for one day and the
second-class hospitals charged VND2, 500 to VND16, 000. Hospitals now spend
VND10, 000-VND17, 000 for a bed a day while electricity and water costs VND10,

The ministry therefore wants to increase medical charges and
under the proposal, it will cost VND100, 000 a bed a day, which will adequately
cover electricity, water, medication and cleaning services.

Burn patients will pay more as bed cost after surgery will
be VND150, 000 (eightfold increase)
according to the new official price rate since patients have to stay in
air-conditioned intensive care units and use respirators.

Nguyen Minh Thao, deputy chief of the Vietnam Insurance
Company, said that besides raising prices of services the ministry should
ensure quality as well.

Pham Luong Son of Vietnam Social Insurance said lawmakers
should discriminate between central and district hospitals when fixing new
rates. According to a recent survey conducted by the Insurance Company, a
doctor at a central hospital examines an average of 300 patients a day while
their counterparts in remote districts see 200 patients a day.

Son said the effect of the medical cost increase on patients
is remarkable. The insurance company spends VND20, 000 billion (US$968,000,000)
annually including VND12, 000billion (60 percent) for medication. If medical
charges increase 10 percent a year, the insurance fund will spend an additional
VND800billion. Meanwhile, according to the ministry’s suggestion, approximately
350 medical services will rise 2.5 to 10 times.

Son noted that many private hospitals provide examination
and treatment to insurance holders who have not complained. In addition, more private medical clinics are
participating in examining and treating insurance patients.

Cao Van Sang, director of the city’s Social Insurance
Agency, said health insurance payment will increase after the new rates for
medical services take effect.

Dr Nghiem Tran Dung, vice director of Vietnam’s
Department of Health Insurance, said treatment quality has not satisfied the
demand in general, especially in district hospitals. Many doctors recommend
various blood and urine tests, X-rays and ultrasounds to insurance cardholders
with different ailments.

More worrisome is the fact that 416 X-ray films conducted in
six hospitals in three provinces showed that 48 percent were not satisfactory
due to wrong positioning and technique and 62 percent doctors read X-ray film
incorrectly. Consequently, doctors come to the wrong conclusion and diagnose
healthy people as ill and sick people.

14% Vietnamese gay
men HIV positive

Nguyen Thi Minh Tam from the Department of Harm Reduction,
Vietnam Administration of HIV/AIDS Control, claims that about 14 percent of
Vietnamese gay men are HIV positive.

A study on HIV reveals that gay men contracting HIV has
risen by 50 percent and is higher amongst those who undergo a sex-change

Moreover, gay men face discrimination within society and
family, which dampens their spirits. Most gay men experience depression after
they reveal their identity, some live closed lives while others quit schools
and more than 30 percent commit suicide.

essential to anti-corruption efforts

Increasing transparency and accountability is the key to the
success of Vietnam’s
battle against corruption, said Swedish Ambassador to Vietnam Staffan

Speaking at a press briefing on the threshold of the ninth
Anti-Corruption Dialogue in Hanoi on May 24,
Ambassador Herrstrom spoke highly of the dialogue’s theme, “Corruption in the
Mining Industry in Vietnam,”
saying the issue will have a negative impact on the country’s sustainable
development and trust in its business environment.

The diplomat congratulated the Vietnamese government on
organising the biannual dialogue, which systematically mentions and regularly
updates the issue of corruption within the framework of dialogue with domestic
and foreign partners.

He also urged Vietnam to create conditions for
individuals and organisations to join anti-corruption efforts.

He said he expected the dialogue, scheduled for May 25, to
touch upon measures to implement the Extractive Industries Transparency
Initiative (EITI) in Vietnam
as a tool to combine the efforts of the government, society, media and private
sector in the battle against corruption in the mining industry.

The dialogue will be jointly held by the Government
Inspectorate, the Office of the National Steering Committee on Corruption
Prevention and the Swedish Embassy.

EITI is being implemented in 35 countries, including those
with abundant natural resources contributing 25 percent or more to their respective

In Vietnam,
mining is one of the fastest developing industries which contributes greatly to
the State budget.

ranks seventh in Asia-Pacific and third in Southeast Asia
in crude oil production.

ADB supports
Vietnam’s transport, water projects

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is keen on funding
transport and environment projects in Vietnam
and Hanoi in

This remark was made by Ayumi Konishi, ADB Country Director
in Vietnam,
at a meeting with Hoang Manh Hien, Vice Chairman of the Hanoi City People’s
Committee on May 24.

During the talks, Hien proposed a number of transport and
safe water projects as priorities in cooperation with ADB.

The projects cover urban transport development, focusing on
management capacity enhancement for Hanoi’s railway sector and technical
assistance for working out a project for the urban railway route No 3, as well
as the sustainable development of the city’s transport sector, with priority to
be given to building modern parking areas and developing environmentally
friendly buses.

A project on delivering safe water from Da River waterworks
to Hanoi’s
western districts was also included in the list.

Ayumi Konishi said the ADB will actively coordinate with
municipal agencies to prepare for the projects.

Vietnamese students
to compete in regional math Olympiad

Ten Vietnamese students from Hanoi
and the central city of Da Nang will compete at
the Asian Pacific Mathematics Olympiad for Primary Schools (APMOPS) 2011 final
in Singapore
on May 28.

The students were selected at the event’s first round in Vietnam which was jointly organised by the
KinderWorld Vietnam and Singapore’s
Hwa Chong Institution. The organisers will cover all costs for these students
competing in the final.

At a ceremony to honour the first round winners scheduled
for May 25 in Hanoi, KinderWorld Vietnam will also present donations to three
outstanding students from the Singapore
Vietnam International
School, including Lee Chae Won, Pham
Hoai Linh and Pham Vu Phuong Chi, who will attend the 17th International Young
Leaders Forum in Singapore
from May 31 to June 3.

British unionists on Vietnam visit

The issue of how to improve union capacity in labour
negotiations topped a meeting between the Vietnam
General Confederation of Labour (VGCL) and a delegation from British Trade
Union Friends of Vietnam, held in Hanoi
on May 23.

VGCL was represented by its Vice President, Nguyen Hoa Binh,
while his guests included David Letcher, member of the Executive Committee of
the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers; Gerald Keith Newson, member of the
Executive Committee of the Musicians’ Union; and James Macdonald, member of the
Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians, all under the British
General Confederation of Trade Unions. They are also members of Trade Union
Friends of Vietnam in the United

Hosts and guests agreed that the capacity of negotiations
would help harmonise labour relations.

They also exchanged experiences in taking measures to
protect jobs and increase incomes for employees to ensure their living

In welcoming the British unionists, Binh said such visits
will contribute to strengthening relations among trade unions from the two
countries, which have been faring well in the recent past.

“May relations between the Vietnam
General Confederation of Labour and the British General Confederation of Trade
Unions develop further,” said Vietnam
’s senior unionist.

During their stay in Vietnam, the British guests are
scheduled to visit some professional and local trade unions.

Drowsy driver kills
old man, injures grandson

A truck driver who admitted to nodding off at the wheel
crashed into a motorcycle on National
Highway 1A in the northern province of Ha Tinh early this
morning, killing an old man and severely injuring his grandson.

Preliminary investigations found that Khu Hoang Long, the
driver, hit some traffic cones before hitting the motorbike coming in the
opposite lane.

The old man, known only as Long, died immediately while Tran
Ngoc Anh, 14, had to be rushed to a nearby hospital for emergency care.

The local police are investigating.

Man sentenced to
death for dismembering woman

A man was Tuesday sentenced to death for murdering and
dismembering a 37-year-old woman in the northern city of Hai Phong to rob her motorbike and gold ring.

The first instance trial found Nguyen Dung Giang, 31, guilty
of murdering Nguyen Thi Thu Hang with a hammer in his rented house which
doubles as a clothes shop on No 676 Truong Chinh Street in Hai An district.

According to indictment, at 9pm, January 5, Hang drove a
motorbike to Giang’s shop. When she was not attentive, the divorced Giang
smashed her head with a hammer and dragged her into a room and locked the door.

There, he cut off her head and two arms and put them into
three bags which he then disposed of in three different places.

On January 7, he sold the gold ring for VND720,000 (US$36).

At court, Giang denied killing Hang. He also refused to let
a lawyer defend him, claiming this lawyer accepted a bribe from judges who all
wanted to sentence him to death.

Giang claimed that Hang and a strange man visited his house
that fateful day, after which he borrowed Hang’s motorbike and went out for a

After returning, he claimed that he found Hang already dead
and the strange man gone.

Giang then told the court that he had to choice but to hide
her body.

However, the court found his statements groundless.

At 1.30pm January 7, Hang’s headless body was found in an
isolated area near Dam Trieu Market in Kien An District.

Her arms had been chopped off and she was naked except for a
pair of underpants.

As the body offered no clues, police screened the area for
missing persons. At 8pm they managed to identify her as a resident of nearby Le
Chan District.

A widow, she had been living with her high-school-going son.

After finding that she had left her house at 9pm Wednesday
to collect a debt, the police homed in on Giang.

Giang was arrested two days later.

Police found the victim’s red Honda Wave motorbike at a
parking lot and said they have confiscated her ring without revealing details.

They found a bag containing two arms and another with
clothes near the Lach
Tray River.

From a deep cut on the victim’s left thigh, the police
suspect it was an attempt to dismember the limb.

Curiously, Kien An District is the birthplace of 27-year-old
Nguyen Duc Nghia who was sentenced to death in Hanoi last year for killing his girlfriend,
beheading her, and cutting off all her fingers.

Condemned man freed
for lack of evidence

A 29-year-old man who had been sentenced to death for rape
and murder and remained in custody for seven years has been acquitted by the
Supreme People’s Court in Ho Chi Minh
City yesterday for lack of evidence.

The Binh Phuoc Province Procuracy had asked for the death
sentence for Le Ba Mai for murder and a prison term of 16-18 years for “raping
a minor.”

The court said it is unacceptable to find someone guilty
purely on the basis of confessions made to the police.

Prosecutors had charged him with raping and killing an
11-year-old girl name Thi Ut in a garden in Binh Phuoc on November 12,

While working for a farm in Binh Long District, he had been
acquainted with her.

In 2005 the provincial People’s Court as well as the Supreme
People’s Court in HCMC had sentenced Mai to death based mainly on his
confession to the crimes.

However, he later filed an appeal to the Supreme People’s
Procuracy claiming he was innocent.

In late 2006 the Supreme People’s Procuracy ordered a fresh

In May 2007 the Judge Council of the Supreme People’s Court
overturned the guilty verdict.

However, after a fresh investigation, the Binh Phuoc
Procuracy reported to the Supreme People’s Procuracy that it was going ahead
with the original charges.

But the court rejected Mai’s confession to the police after
he said that investigators had coerced him into pleading guilty to the crimes.

The court also pulled up the investigators for making “many
mistakes” in examining the scene of the crime and in collecting and maintaining
the exhibits in the case.

Some items found at the scene, like four strands of hair,
were not produced as evidence.

Besides, some of the testimonies contradicted the
investigation results and the exhibits, while the investigation agencies had
failed to clarify a number of issues raised by the Supreme People’s Procuracy.

Woman struck dead by

A mother of five children was truck dead by lightning on
late Monday evening in Phong Binh Commune, Phong Dien District, central Thua Thien
Hue city Province,
Dan Tri newswire reported.

Tran Thi Huong, 32, was harvesting rice in a field where Le
Phuoc Thai was also doing the same job when the lightning hit the two, killing
her and seriously injuring the man.

Local authorities in Phong Dien this morning granted Huong’s
family VND4.5 million (US$217.73) and also gave Thai VND1.5 million ($72.58) as
a consolation.

The ill-fated woman was gone, leaving the five children
including the oldest aged 14 and the youngest just 1 year old.

One day earlier, a cyclone hit nearby Huong Tra District,
blowing up many roofs of local houses, pulling down trees, and damaging many
parts of the electricity grid in the locality.

Tremor hits northern province

A magnitude-3.8 earthquake hit Y Ty Commune in Bat Xat
District, northern Lao
Cai Province
at 7 am this morning.

The tremor occurred at 22.6°N, 103.6°E, said Tran Phuc
Thanh, a geophysicist in the province, who dismissed the quake as minor.

No casualties or damage has been reported so far.

An aftershock that lasted from 5 to 6 seconds following
another earthquake earlier shaking Yunnan
Province in southwestern China had
struck the same Vietnamese province in the small hours of Sunday morning.

Nguyen Thi Ai Dung, a local hydrologist, said she felt
slight movements in her bed at the time while Le Hong Diep, a local person,
reported similar shakes from the doors of her house.

Ly Gio Lu, chairman of Y Ty people’s committee, recounted
houses in the locality also quivered on the morning.

4 Chinese sentenced
for swindling

At a first instance trial yesterday, Ho Chi Minh City
People’s Court convicted four Chinese men on charges of “theft by swindle.”

The convicted are Liu Qiu Di, Liu Jin Qing, Wu Cai Ping, and
Zhang Xue Yong.

Di was sentenced to 18 months in prison, while Qing, Ping
and Yong received 15 months, 13 months, and 11 months, respectively.

According to the indictment from the prosecutors’ office,
the four Chinese came to Vietnam
on tourist visas in June 2010 and stayed in a hotel on Pham Ngu Lao Street, District 1, HCM City.

To swindle money from superstitious and gullible people to
pay for their expenses, the four claimed to be fortune tellers and herbal

They went around the Thiec Market in District 11 and then
made acquaintance with Luong Lang, a woman who could speak Chinese.

They told Lang that she had to buy some herbal medicines for
her relatives and hold an offering ceremony to get rid of back luck, otherwise
two members of her family would die soon.

Lang agreed and asked them to arrange an offering ceremony
for her family. During the ceremony, the four men tried to swap their handbag
with Lang’s bag which contained more than VND9 million ($437).

When Lang discovered the loss of money, she called out for
help. Local residents helped her seize the swindlers and handed them to the
local police.

Pregnant woman dies
from car-motorbike crash

A tourism car hit the motorbike after avoiding a car in the
opposite direction on National Highway 88 in Binh Son Commune in the southern province of Kien Giang Tuesday, killing a woman four
months pregnant on the spot.

The accident also injured another woman behind the
two-wheeled vehicle.

Police identified the deceased as Vo Thi Phuong, 31, and the
injured as Vo Kim Phuong, 21, who was taken to a nearby hospital for emergency

Two young men
arrested for extortion

Hanoi’s Me Linh District police yesterday arrested Nguyen
Van Sang, 26, a local, and Pham Phu Manh, 25, from northern Hai Duong province
for extorting VND30 million (US$1,450) from a local family.

The two men admitted to the police that they had been hired
by a girl who is a member of the family.

About ten days ago, a grade 11 schoolgirl named Cuc ran away
with her boy friend to Hai Duong and rented a room there to live.

The couple planned to go south but had no money to live out
their dream. Cuc then discussed with her boyfriend a scheme to extort money
from her parents.

At VND2 million ($97) she hired Manh and Sang to carry out
the job.

Manh and Sang then contacted Cuc’s parents and told them to
pay VND30 million ($1,480) if they wanted to know the whereabouts of their
“missing” daughter.

On May 17, Cuc’s father brought VND15 million to an area
near the Me Linh Market to hand it to Manh, who took the money and promised to
give him information about his daughter the next day.

However, Manh did not keep his promise and demanded that the
family give him another VND15 million before he could give them the

Cuc’s father reported the case to the local police and asked
them for help.

Two days later, the police caught Manh in the act of
receiving the money from Cuc’s father.

From Manh’s confession, the police arrested Sang on the same

The two told investigators that Cuc was the instigator of
the extortion scheme.

The police are investigating the case further.

Dinky Din Ky
death tour ship sinks again

The Din Ky tour ship sank again just after being salvaged up
from a tragic accident that killed 16 people when it overturned and sank to the
bottom of the Saigon
River during a birthday

Early this morning, the ‘floating restaurant’ was
successfully salvaged but at 9:30 a.m., it suddenly turned sideways and
gradually sank.

However, 10 divers were mobilized to pump water out. They
also managed to seal up several holes on the double-storey boat’s body and
lifted it up 30 minutes after it went into this second sinking.

The ship is now afloat and ready for examination by relevant

Earlier, on the evening May 20, the two-storey cruise ship
capsized and sank with 32 guests on board who were attending a child’s birthday

The accident killed 16 people and all of their bodies were
found and sent home for burial.

The party was held by Quach Luong Tai, a businessman, to
celebrate the birthday of his 3-year-old son Quach Hong Dat. Tai survived while
all of his family died.

CapitaLand gifts
VND2.2 billion to Phu Tho school

CapitaLand Hope Foundation says it will donate VND2.2
billion to fund the refurbishment and upgrading of facilities at Nang Yen Primary School, Nang Yen Commune in the northern province of Phu

The amount accounts for two-thirds of the school’s total
costs of VND3.3 billion. The remaining costs will be funded by the People’s
Committee of Thanh Ba District in the province.

When the new facilities are in place by December this year,
the school will be renamed CapitaLand Nang Yen Primary Hope School, and it is
expected to benefit 165 underprivileged children with upgraded amenities for
the children to grow, develop and learn in a more conducive and spacious

“As one of Asia’s largest real estate companies, it is
important for us to contribute back to the communities where we operate, and we
are proud to have extended the footprint of our Hope
Schools to Vietnam,” Lim Chin Beng, chairman
of CapitaLand Hope Foundation, a philanthropic arm of Singaporean property
developer CapitaLand, said.


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